Birsa Munda Biography

Birsa Munda, an Indian freedom fighter and tribal leader, played a crucial role in liberating his community from British oppression. Through his own experiences and understanding of the injustices faced by the tribal people, he spread awareness and gathered an army to protest against the British Raj. Known for his relentless courage and influential speeches, Birsa Munda inspired the public to believe in the power of freedom and dream of a better world. His efforts for the restoration of tribal ownership rights exemplified his visionary leadership.

Quick Facts

  • Indian Celebrities Born In November
  • Also Known As: Birsa Bhagwan
  • Died At Age: 24
  • Family:
    • Father: Sugana Munda
    • Mother: Karmi Hatu
    • Siblings: Champa, Daskir, Komta Munda
  • Revolutionaries
  • Indian Men
  • Died on: June 9, 1900
  • Place of death: Ranchi Jail

Childhood & Early Life

Birsa Munda was born on November 15, 1875 in Ulihatu, Khunti, Jharkhand, India. His parents were Sugana Munda, an agricultural laborer, and Karmi Hatu. He had an elder brother named Komta Munda and two elder sisters named Daskir and Champa. His family belonged to the Munda ethnic tribal community and they moved from place to place before settling in Chalkad, where Birsa spent his early childhood. From a young age, he developed an interest in playing the flute. Due to poverty, he was taken to his maternal uncle’s village, Ayubhatu, where he lived for two years. He also accompanied his mother’s younger sister, Joni, to her new home in Khatanga after her marriage. Birsa received his early education from a school at Salga, run by a man named Jaipal Nag. Jaipal Nag persuaded Birsa to attend the German Mission School, where he was converted to Christianity and enrolled. However, he studied for only a few years before leaving the school.

Activism

From 1886 to 1890, Birsa’s family lived in Chaibasa, a place that was influenced by the activities of the Sardars. Birsa was influenced by their activities and was encouraged to support the anti-Government movement. In 1890, his family gave up their membership in the German mission to support the Sardar’s movement. Birsa later became involved in the popular agitation movement against the unjust laws imposed on the traditional rights of the Mundas in the protected forest in the Porhat area. During the early 1890s, he started spreading awareness among the common people about the British company’s plans to gain total control of India. Under his leadership, the tribal movements gained momentum and numerous protests were staged against the British. The movement demanded the recognition of tribals as the true owners of the land and the expulsion of middlemen and the British. The movement eventually faded out after Birsa’s sudden demise, but it had a significant impact as it forced the colonial government to introduce laws to protect the land of tribal people from being easily taken away by outsiders. It also symbolized the strength and courage of the tribal community in standing against British prejudice. Birsa also propagated the principles of Hindu religion and advocated for tribal people who had converted to Christianity to return to their original religious system. He came to be seen as a god-man figure by the tribal people who sought his blessings.

Personal Life & Legacy

While living in the neighborhood of village Sankara in Singhbhum, Birsa encountered a suitable life partner but later left her due to her infidelity. He received marriage proposals from two women, the daughter of Mathura Muda of Koensar and the wife of Jaga Munda of Jiuri, but he refused to marry either of them. On March 3, 1900, Birsa was arrested, along with his tribal guerrilla army, by the British troops in Jamkopai forest, Chakradharpur. On June 9, 1900, at the age of 25, he died in Ranchi Jail where he was imprisoned. The British government declared that he died of cholera, although he showed no symptoms of the disease, leading to rumors that he may have been poisoned. To honor Birsa Munda, several institutes, colleges, and places have been named after him, including the Birsa Institute of Technology, Birsa Agricultural University, Birsa Munda Athletics Stadium, and Birsa Munda Airport.

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